Happy to make a statement on the new abatement program in New Orleans and support my colleague Monica Rose Kelly, who wrote the foreword of my first book on the topic. My intro to the field of creative placemaking back in 2010: opening an international mural painting company hosting artists from around the world to paint in New York. Murals are a strategy to city vibrancy while aiding in the development of the creative economy, which was the mission. I sponsored artists into the US from Australia, New Zealand, and Japan before going on to organize street art festivals nationally. I knew that abatement programs didn't work cuz in the world of graffiti as soon as the art gets buffed out (meaning the graffiti is painted over by the city) the artist is thrilled to get back a blank canvas. This process results in a blank wall that will almost immediately get hit again. Wasted time, wasted money. Annoying, I know. The real solution is to paint murals (piece short for masterpiece), what I call the silent killer. In the streets, you don't tag/bomb (write over) a piece. It's code. Knowing that and needing to find money for mural projects, I would pitch municipalities to re-allocate a portion of their abatement dollars to fund mural projects and educate the city as to why it is an even better strategy to abatement. I would then pay the same graffiti artists tagging walls to do the masterpiece mural work. Problem solved.
The Building in January 2023
An Older Picture of The Beauty Supply Building: Site of Abatement Launch & Ms. Kelly's New Project